Matthews Barbershop owners Matt and Julie Matthews said they’d “never be that guy” and that they’d rather die than leave their home.
They’re being hailed as a model of social responsibility after a tragic car crash and a string of suicides in their home town of Winton in northern Victoria.
The brothers, both 46, have been working in their small, one-storey shop since they were 16 years old and have never owned a shop or made a living from it.
But this week the business has been left in limbo after they lost their insurance cover after the state government stopped covering their business under the Commonwealth Insured Workers Act.
“I was the first person to come in, and it’s just been very upsetting for the whole family,” Mr Matthews said.
“We were told to leave our house and go into the bush and never come back.”
My wife was the last one to leave the house.
We were all devastated.
“Ms Matthews said she had been working full-time since her husband retired in 2008, but she had struggled to find work as a full-timer at a cafe.”
“The family has been going through this for years. “
They’ve been looking for work, but they’ve been told they can’t get a job.””
The family has been going through this for years.
They’ve been looking for work, but they’ve been told they can’t get a job.”
Ms Williams said the loss of insurance meant they had no way of paying for the shop and had been left with no other options but to go into emergency accommodation.
“All we had was a couple of small bills, and we had no income,” she told ABC News.
“Our bills had been so high we couldn’t afford them.”
And they’ve stopped giving us the money that we need.
“The family of four have been living in emergency accommodation in the town of Wyandots for the past three weeks and will not be able to return until next month.
Ms Matthews and her partner Julie are currently seeking support from the community to help them through the process.”
They are very upset and they want to know that they can get through this,” she explained.”
But we’re really desperate.
We’ve been trying to do what we can to help out with the bills.
“The Matthews family are also facing the challenge of supporting the children, aged 10, eight, six and one, who have a younger sibling.”
The kids have a 10-year-old who’s autistic and she’s had to be very careful around the shop,” Ms Matthews said of the children.”
She has a bit of a problem with the shop, and so the kids have been very scared and haven’t been able to interact with the other kids.
“Ms Johnson said the family’s main concern was ensuring they were in the best possible condition when they return to the town to support their younger siblings.”
Matt is our biggest concern, because it’s so difficult to keep him calm,” she added.”
He has been on medication for quite a long time.
“You know, it’s really difficult.”
There’s no other option.
“The Andrews family is working with the Department of Health and Welfare to get their insurance covered.
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